The art of changing strings


For those of you who may have never been schooled in the art of string changing... wait, there's an art to changing strings? Well, maybe not, but over the years I've encountered a lot of musicians who make a few mistakes. Don't worry, I'm not exempt. It took me going to the far side of the world, assisting on a recording session at Montage Studio in Auckland, NZ to be learned!

I was sitting on a couch in the back of the studio as I was given the task of changing the strings on an acoustic, owned by the most sought after engineer in NZ, he turns around with eyes wide and softly rebuked this kid who had already taken 4 of the 6 strings off of his $6000 Martin. What he proceeded to tell me immediately struck me as common sense that I should've known and practiced, since I thought of myself as somewhat of a guitar player. "One string at a time" he says. "You've gotta keep the tension on the neck."

Humbled, a bit embarrassed and thankful for my new found knowledge, I proceeded to put the four strings on that I had taken off and replace the other two 'one at a time.'

As an Ohio boy, I'll use the excuse that my neck of the woods was the perfect climate for guitars. I'd never had any serious problems with any of my guitars growing up and into my young adult hood. My dad tought me basics of truss rod adjustments and string height & having him around I may have put off having to learn some of the finer details. Now, living in Alberta, I'm having to learn the hard way. In the transition of relocating my life, family, business & belongings to Alberta I think my guitars took it the worst.

I've had a lot of questions about wrap around the pegs and getting the right amount of string around there to hold it in place and keep the guitar in tune. Once I get the string into the peg I hold it at the 12th fret about 2 inches off the fretboard and tune it up with my left hand, a trick my dad passed on to me to get the right amount of string wrap, and it works for us.

Once you get the strings fairly tuned up give them a weighty tug around the sound hole to pull up any slack that may hve been left under the bridge pins. Also, when tuning up I use the tuners & if I'm a bit sharp I give the string a tug. Very rarely do I ever tune a string down as it can loose tension and come out of tune easier.


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